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Duolingo Lands $30M, Reaches Unicorn Status 

Duolingo has raised $30 million in a new round of funding, bringing it to a $1.5 billion valuation and making it Pittsburgh’s first tech startup to reach unicorn status, according to the company.

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The language-learning company, which was founded in 2011, landed the money in a Series F funding round led by CapitalG.

Duolingo has free interactive lessons to learn more than 30 different languages. The company also offers Duolingo Plus, which removes ads for users and adds other features like offline courses, for $6.99 per month.

The new round of funding will be used for research and development, along with hiring more employees, according to a statement. Duolingo has grown from 95 employees in July 2017 to 200 now.

The company has 30 million monthly active users, and credits its organic growth to word-of-mouth. Users can learn languages including French, Korean, Navajo, Arabic and Hawaiian.

“Duolingo has been adding users and revenue at an impressive pace, continuing to solidify their position as the #1 way to learn a language globally,” Laela Sturdy, General Partner at CapitalG, said in a statement. “The team has demonstrated that sticking to their mission of providing free education is not only good for the world, but it’s also good for business.”

Duolingo is part of Pittsburgh’s growing startup scene. Other large deals in the city include Argo AI’s $2.6 billion round in July and RoBotany’s $35 million venture round in October.

Duolingo last raised money in July 2017, when it landed a $25 million Series E investment led by Drive Capital. The new round brings the company’s total funding to $138 million, and it counts Kleiner Perkins and New Enterprise Associates as investors.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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